I have never been to a SoxFest. Not one. Don’t plan on going anytime soon, unless I can get in for free. Or until Freddy Garcia returns.
IT IS A WORLD OF EXPERTISE THAT I BRING TO THIS POST
However, while I believe it silly to fork over hundreds of dollars to see baseball players not play baseball, and believe panels of players and executives speaking to fans are inherently designed to be removed of scoops, I can still run through a press release full of scheduled appearances and make comments.
JANUARY 25-27, PALMER HOUSE HILTON HOTEL, 17 EAST MONROE ST…CHICAGO, OBVIOUSLY
Current White Sox players scheduled to attend are Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Chris Sale, Adam Dunn, Addison Reed and Gavin Floyd (!!!!!). SoxFest is serious business, and I’m sure that Floyd’s presence on the schedule means his presence on the 2013 White Sox is written in stone, and that trading him requires a lot more than the Sox simply calling their publisher, and telling them to remove his name from the event programs before they go out to print.
In seriousness, Floyd–should he be there–would probably come the closest to occupying the role Adam Dunn had last year, as the underperforming veteran who needs to explain why things are going to be different. Instead, Dunn returns for the most part as a conquering hero along with Sale.
Alexei Ramirez was already discussing plans to work harder at the end of last season, but between his decent batting average and high RBI total, I have my doubts about how much people noticed how bad he was in 2012.
Paul Konerko will be the target of retirement questions and will probably give a surprisingly honest answer.
Last year, the theme for former players attending was 2005 heroes, with Joe Crede, Chris Widger, Pablo Ozuna, and Cliff Politte joining franchise mainstay Frank Thomas, and that’s carrying over to a lesser degree this year. I suspect that the 2005 team will be getting acknowledged in some way at SoxFest every year for the forseeable future, since so many of these guys are ending their playing careers and getting jobs with the organization. (Reminder: 2005 was a while ago).
Aaron Rowand–released by the Marlins out of Spring Training, and free enough to do some broadcast work for 670 AM last year–will be on hand, in addition to Jermaine Dye, and Joe Crede, who is about as officially retired as Dye at this point. Crede’s only 34, and it’s sad to think how long he’s been done, and how much fun it was to watch him play 3rd base. But that sorrow can be offset by Frank Thomas being around, and remembering how unlikely it was that he would be a smiling, glad-handing representative for the team this time seven years ago.
Outside of the never-ending 2005 nostalgia tour, Black Jack McDowell, former hulking 80’s slugger Greg Luzinski, and 70’s OF/1B Carlos May are expected to attend, in addition to Ron Kittle, who attended last year and is turning into a bit of a regular.
Go-to topics of conversation for McDowell have to be Dr. James Andrews ruining his career and costing him millions, and getting knocked unconscious in a bar fight that involved Eddie Vedder. Or the ’93 team. You could always ask him about the ’93 team.
Given the difference in size of the crop of players from last year to this, I would expect some more appearance announcements before the event. A.J. Pierzynski may be gone, Philip Humber and Brent Morel may be irrelevent, John Danks might be busy rehabbing, and Alex Rios would probably rather die than leave Puerto Rico to go to Chicago in January, but it seems odd that Matt Thornton, Tyler Flowers and Jesse Crain would all be out of the picture after attending in 2012.
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